Two members of the St Andrews Links Trust team got up close and personal with one of Europe’s most talked about and photographed golf resorts.
Brendan Duffy and Janet Finlay returned to the world’s most famous Links having visited Thracian Cliffs Golf Resort on the Black Sea in Bulgaria to assist with volunteer support for marshaling, scoring and scoreboards at the Volvo World Matchplay Championship.
Located between the rugged coastal cliffs and the Black Sea, the course stretches more than 4km from one end to the other. Opened in 2011 and designed by Gary Player, its natural beauty and the victory of Graeme McDowell last Sunday caught the attention of golf fans across the globe.
With less than ten courses in Bulgaria, golf is still a relatively unknown sport and the Links’ Janet and Brendan, who have years of experience helping to co-ordinate and deliver the annual Dunhill Links Championship, were tasked with helping volunteers and building knowledge of the game.
Janet, Golf Coordinator at the Links, said: “The Bulgarian Golf Association had recruited volunteers on their website over recent months and the six members of the Association who we worked with during the week were delighted with a list of approximately 200 names.
“We set about putting a structure in place to marshal the key positions on the course and to man the scoreboards. Those with golfing experience were allocated the important role of a scorer, sometimes having to complete two rounds in the one day.”
Brendan and Janet’s hard work clearly paid off with the standard of marshals and volunteers highlighted by Sky Sports Golf commentary team Richard Boxall and Bruce Critchley, who praised the volunteers for their work ethic and knowledge.
Janet added: “From Day 1 to the final day’s play last Sunday the volunteers were amazing – they had all really engaged with the golf, came in each morning knowing exactly where and when they were required on the course or scoreboard, and were keen to see the results of the matches and what the scores were.
“Graeme McDowell was a very popular winner and everyone was cheering ‘GMac’ on the final day. The volunteer marshals performed their duties really well and always with a smile on their faces. It was a pleasure to work with them and hopefully the future of Bulgarian golf will be all the better for exposing so many young people to world class players.”